As you’re no doubt aware, Jennifer Lawrence has had some naked selfies stolen from her, and according to the very reputable 4chan, they were swiped by someone hacking her iCloud account. If you haven’t seen the photos, then chances are we’ve lost you and you’re burrowing into a search engine now, looking for boobs.
How can you keep your cloud accounts safe? If you have an account with iCloud, Dropbox or Google+, you might find that they automatically upload and save your images.
First thing to do is to make sure your password doesn’t get stolen or is difficult to guess. That’s blindingly obvious, but worth mentioning. Change your passwords regularly and make sure they’re not words, but rather, a collection of letters, numbers and symbols.
It doesn’t matter how safe cloud accounts are made if your password is 123456 or ‘password’.
Another thing you can do is make sure that you switch off the automatic backup services. In all Apple devices, you can disable Photostream. If you turn it off, it’ll delete any automatically stored images from iCloud. You’ll have to delete any manually shared Photostreams yourself.
With Dropbox, your Android device can be set-up to upload every photo and video you take into the cloud. If that’s not your thing, go to ‘settings’ and turn the option off. You’ll also need to delete them from Dropbox manually.
On Android, G+ and Picasa, you can disable automatic photo backup in the Photos app on your device. You’ll need to go to ‘settings’ then Auto-Backup and then untick ‘Back up local folders’.
Of course, you’re not a celebrity so the chances of someone wanting to hack your account and share your photos are slim. However, if you’re feeling jumpy or just want to disable these functions, now you know how.
You’re still not reading this are you. You’re still looking at boobs.
The new BSI (British Standards Institution) kitemark has been applied to Barclay’s new Pingit mobile payment service and Barclays Mobile Banking, after they were independently assessed.
Although the kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI envisages that its use will be adopted by a wider range of firms – for example within the entertainment industry.
Anyone wanting to get a kitemark for their product will have to go through hardcore testing so that their security meets the required standards for dealing with confidential data.
Those that meet the standards will be able to give customers confidence by displaying the kitemark on their products and in their marketing materials.
This is quite the thing as three quarters of Brits now use the internet for shopping and just over half now bank online.
Maureen Sumner Smith who is the UK managing director at BSI, used her mouth and said: “More and more of us are now sharing confidential information through online shopping, mobile banking, booking flights, gaming, university applications or interacting with local government. These behavioural changes from the physical to the digital demand the need for even more rigorous security measures.”
“Many organisations have good information security processes already established, but by having their systems independently tested on a regular basis as part of the BSI kitemark process, they can clearly demonstrate to customers their commitment to safeguarding information.”
The British intelligence agency GCHQ, have launched an online game to test whether you’d be any good at stopping a fictional attack.
GCHQ are hoping to find some masterminds among the gameplayers, and then use them, USE THEM FOR THEIR MINDS.
And it’s not a piece of puff, winners of previous missions have gone on to work at the agency.
In the game, called ‘Assignment: Astute Explorer’, users must protect a fictitious aerospace technology company threatened by imminent attack from imaginary cyber terrorists called The Flag Day Associates. There’s even YouTube threats and all sorts. Fancy that!
The story goes that fictitious company Ebell are concerned about the threat of an imminent attack and have asked GCHQ operatives (the public playing the game) to assess the scale of the threat. Sounds like fun.
If you fancy your chances at, you know, one day possibly saving the world, head here.
You know that Google tracks your every movement don’t you? Unless you’ve tinkered with the location settings on your phone, they know where you’ve been going. Including that late night jog you went on… to a massage parlour.
Well, if you didn’t know, there’s a map online, where you can see to what level Google have been following you around.
Of course, many of you will look at your map and realise that you’ve got the life-radius of a beetle tied to a nail, walking around in ever decreasing circles.
You’ll have to log in with your Google account, but once you do, you’ll see a 2D map with a record of where you’ve been for the last month. Whether you think this is a cause for concern is your business, but looking at the map of your recent history might make you feel a bit weird in a Minority Report kinda way.
Have a look at the map of your whereabouts here.
Google have been relatively open about how they scan everyone’s emails – it is so they can tailor adverts to customers and make loads of money. However, not everyone is happy about that, especially with all that NSA business.
However, reports say that a Google tip-off from the contents of a Gmail account ended up in the arrest of a child abuser from Texas. Police say Google told the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about the content in an email sent by John Henry Skillern, who is a registered sex offender.
“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email,” said Detective David Nettles. “I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can.”
So what’s going on?
Pictures are hashed which creates a unique code for an image. The hash is compared with a database of known child abuse images and, if they match, details are passed to the NCMEC (or, if you’re in Britain, the Internet Watch Foundation, who Google actually give funding to). Then, a trained expert looks at the case and decides whether or not to pass it on to the police.
AOL also employ a similar system and they caught someone sharing illegal images last year.
The moral quandary is that, while the capture of child abusers is absolutely good and noble, Google and others are sifting through everyone’s correspondence and repacking it for advertisers. With Google’s buying of Nest, some people even think that they’ll be able to spy on you via your thermostat (a bit like the Piers Brosnan robot house in The Simpsons).
So what’s the trade off? If you’re not doing anything wrong, should people be scanning your emails? Do you not mind because child abusers can be caught? Is this case being crowed about in a bid to try and distract users from something a bit dodgy going on? Or do we just accept it because this is how the internet works?
The TPS runs a register designed to reduce any unsolicited sales calls. Firms can be fined for ignoring the list.
According to the findings of the research, while the TPS is “highly effective” at stopping calls to consumers registered on TPS by legitimate telemarketing companies, TPS-registered consumers still receive on average 2.5 nuisance calls per month.
It transpires that only a third of “nuisance” calls are blocked by the service, which allows individuals to opt-out of marketing calls, research has found.
However some rogue companies are flouting the rules, according to regulators. And us lot unwittingly give consent for calls by ticking a box on devious online sales forms.
The research, commissioned by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office, found that registering with the TPS blocked 35% of all nuisance calls.
If you’re an individual, registration on the TPS is free and takes 28 days to become effective.
It is a legal requirement that all organisations – including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties – do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have the individual’s consent to do so.
There are plans to increase the level of fines levied on firms that make nuisance calls, and these are due in October.
Fines of up to 20% of annual turnover could be handed down to firms using information gathered by unlawful unsolicited calls and texts. That’ll learn ‘em.
Let’s see what the swarthly named Claudio Pollack from Ofcom has to say: “We understand how frustrating it is to still receive some unsolicited sales calls despite being TPS-registered,”
“That is why we welcome tough enforcement action from the ICO against rogue companies who breach the rules.”
Currently, the ICO must demonstrate “significant damage or distress” caused to individuals by nuisance calls or spam texts in order to issue monetary penalties of up to £500,000.
Christ, let’s hope no mobile company has pissed off its users by spamming them willy nilly then. Oh.
The mucky-minded of Britain were asked if they wanted the government to introduce porn filters to the internet. An overwhelming majority laughed in the face of such an idea, with a take-up for Sky, BT and Virgin Media all below 10%.
Ofcom have done a report on such a thing, and found that most people chose not to block porn from their internet connections, telling ISPs to stick their adult content filters up their holes. Yeah. Like that. Oh yeah. Einfach so, mein kleines Kaninchen.
This is bad news for the Govt because they shouted loudly about all this and made BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media all contact their customers to force them to turn the modesty filters on or off. It is a weird notion. Imagine a Government official popping their head around your door and saying “watching any dirty films any time soon?”
You’d throw a shoe at them.
Ofcom found that 5% of new BT customers turned the filters on, with 8% of Sky customers and a measly 4% of Virgin Media users. The fusty sorts at TalkTalk already have the Homesafe parental controls system. 36% of those guys wanted to get it turned on. Oooh yeah.
Now, all ISPs are required to ‘pre-tick’ the box that sees adult content filters switched to ‘on’, which means new customers have to actively say they want it switched off during the installation process.
Naturally, the whole thing has already been a farce, with non-bongo sites being blocked by these clunky modesty wrappers. People found that they were denied access to sites which offer help about domestic violence and sexual health.
Either way, it seems like Britain is all for a dirtier internet, which is to be applauded. So the chastity belt wearing simpletons at Westminster.
We’d all like an extra 20% discount on our car insurance, right? Well it seems that some insurers are offering up to a fifth off car insurance premiums for ‘prudent’ people.
Some insurance firms claim that they have found a strong link between people who are prudent with their spending and those less likely to take risks while driving. If you’re careful with your money, you’ll be careful on the road. This means that Lloyds insurance arm Scottish Widows is apparently offering up to 20% off to certain customers who, for example, stay within their overdraft limits, or never need an overdraft, or who never miss a credit card payment.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that renewing car insurance becomes a more labour-intensive process, requiring drivers to detail their financial histories in order to try and get a discount. Instead, this is just part of the ‘big data revolution’ which sees businesses using consumers’ personal information in new and exciting ways. And Scottish Widows aren’t alone.
We’ve known for years that Tesco monitors the shopping habits of Clubcard holders, and Tesco insurance reportedly offers discounts of up to 40% on home and car insurance to those whose shopping habits indicate they would be a careful driver. However, they are not forthcoming on which products are so indicative. Aviva changes house insurance premiums depending on the exact location of properties on a street.
But while no one is going to be miffed at being offered an un-requested 20% discount, as with everything else in life, the fear is that this is, in fact, a double edged sword. While those with ‘good’ financial habits are offered money off, are those struggling to make ends meet going to be penalised even further by higher premiums? Apparently not.
A spokesman for Scottish Widows told the Telegraph that “this use of the data we hold is allowing us to offer discounts on motor insurance to customers who tend to show care in areas like personal finances. But we will not be using this information to increase premiums.” Sounds pretty categoric. For now anyway.
However, privacy groups remain unconvinced, and consider this alternate use of data to be a breach of trust by holders of super-sensitive data.
Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Despite this being within the law, the way many companies go about doing this is underhand and goes far beyond what customers would expect them to do with their data.” She called on insurers to give customers the option of explicitly opting-in to the use of big data rather than just allowing them to opt out, if consumers are even aware of how businesses are using their data.
So what do you think? Is it OK so long as it only confers positive benefits, or will the sharp side of the deal inevitably turn up before long?
Sounds dodgy doesn’t it? How can a government do something like that? Well, Cameron & Co. have wheeled out the usual excuse of terrorism. See, if the government can snoop on everyone, that’ll stop someone from listening to God and blowing themselves up.
According to Cameron, these fast-tracked measures are absolutely necessary to defend our national security against the threat from Iraq and Syria. If we don’t, the consequences are “grave.” This move is a response to a ruling by the European Court of Justice which struck down regulations that allowed communications companies from storing data for police use for a year. Downing Street reckons that we’re all doomed if phone and internet companies start deleting these records.
“It is the first duty of government to protect our national security and to act quickly when that security is compromised,” David Cameron said. “As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe. The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK. No government introduces fast track legislation lightly. But the consequences of not acting are grave.”
“I want to be very clear that we are not introducing new powers or capabilities – that is not for this Parliament. This is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe.”
Nick Clegg, a man hired to wander around Whitehall to say ‘does anything need doing? No? Okay. Fancy a pint after? You’re busy? Never mind then’, said these emergency laws “will not be used as an excuse for more powers, or for a ‘snooper’s charter’.”
“Liberty and security must go hand in hand. We can’t enjoy our freedom if we’re unable to keep ourselves safe.”
Tom Watson, meanwhile, isn’t impressed and said on the radio this morning that this is a “stitch up” that denies MPs the chance to be able to scrutinise the legislation: ”This is a secret deal between party leaders. There hasn’t been a bill published, we find out this morning when Parliament is on a one-line whip and MPs are in their constituencies that next week they will railroad through emergency legislation.”
“If you are an MP, you probably shouldn’t bother turning up for work next week because what you think doesn’t really matter. They are ramping up the rhetoric on it but no one in civic society has a chance to form a view on this or lobby their MP or talk to them about it. I understand that Labour’s shadow cabinet is seeing it this morning. They’ve not had a chance to think about it yet.”
Cue: If you’re not doing anything wrong, it doesn’t matter arguments.